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Ed Harris, Martin Sheen Endorse Patricia Richardson for SAG-AFTRA Presidency

Patricia Richardson’s challenge to SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard has attracted endorsements from Elliot Gould, Valerie Harper, Ed Harris, Robert Hays, Amy Madigan, Kent McCord, Nick Nolte, Martin Sheen and Nancy Sinatra.

About 140,000 ballots went out this week to the SAG-AFTRA membership, with results due to be tabulated on Aug. 20. Richardson, best known as Tim Allen’s co-star on “Home Improvement,” announced her candidacy on June 25 as head of the self-styled progressive Membership First slate.

Howard won elections in 2009 and 2011 for the SAG presidency and then won the post in 2013 against Esai Morales in the first election for the merged SAG-AFTRA, running each time as the head of the moderate Unite for Strength slate. He announced June 1 that he would seek re-election with Jenny O’Hara as his running mate for secretary-treasurer.

Howard’s current endorsement list includes Alec Baldwin, Lewis Black, Bryan Cranston, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, William H. Macy, Octavia Spencer, Jeffrey Tambor and Lily Tomlin.

Star power has always been a major factor in the union elections. In the 2013 contest, Sheen received the highest number of votes of any candidate running for a national board seat, followed by Tony Shalhoub, Morales and Howard.

Richardson unveiled her slate Wednesday, which includes stuntwoman Jane Austin as her running mate for secretary-treasurer. Morales and David Jolliffe are seeking the Los Angeles VP slots; notable candidates for the national board include Richardson, former SAG president Ed Asner, Frances Fisher, Jolliffe and Diane Ladd along with Jeff Austin, Michael Bell, David Cowgil, Joe d’Angerio, Debbie Evans, Marc Geschwind, Linda Harcharic, Samantha Hartson, Charlie Hutchins, Jodi Long, Kurt Lott, Ron Ostrow and Robin Riker.

Richardson has said that Howard’s faction has been too accommodating to employers and not responsive to members. “Our whole team wants to have a member-centric, member-led, transparent and more democratic approach to tackling the issues that have not been solved,” she said.

The Unite for Strength ticket for the national board includes Ellen Crawford (“ER”), “Being Mary Jane” star Lisa Vidal, Mimi Cozzens, Conrad Palmisano (“21 Jump Street”), “Avatar” actor Woody Schultz, Patrick Fabian (“Better Call Saul”), Gabrielle Carteris (“Beverly Hills, 90210″), L. Scott Caldwell (“Lost”), Jon Huertas (“Castle”), broadcaster Hal Eisner, John Carroll Lynch (“American Horror Story”), Elizabeth McLaughlin (“Pretty Little Liars”), Autumn Reeser (“The O.C.”) and Iqbal Theba (“Glee”).

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